|Publication number||US7104729 B2|
|Application number||US 10/431,141|
|Publication date||Sep 12, 2006|
|Filing date||May 7, 2003|
|Priority date||May 7, 2002|
|Also published as||DE60304506D1, DE60304506T2, EP1361153A1, EP1361153B1, US20030211790|
|Publication number||10431141, 431141, US 7104729 B2, US 7104729B2, US-B2-7104729, US7104729 B2, US7104729B2|
|Inventors||Leopoldo Antonio Cressi|
|Original Assignee||Cressi-Sub S.P.A.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (66), Non-Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (4), Classifications (8), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to equipment for use in extreme environments and, more particularly, to a jacket for underwater activities.
Scuba divers and others who engage in underwater locomotion experience forces of buoyancy that can effect the ease with which they move about. To control or counter these forces, specialized jackets with one or more air chambers are commonly used for underwater buoyancy compensation. Typically, these jackets are inflated either by mouth or using an inflation device operated by compressed gas, and deflated in order to provide buoyancy trim and/or compensation to the diver as he or she moves about.
An objective of these jackets is to maintain the buoyancy of the diver in a substantially neutral state as his/her depth varies, thereby assuring that he/she will be able to move with utmost ease in any direction. Generally speaking, as the diver dives deeper, the increase in water pressure not only tends to compress some of the diver's body cavities, but also his or her wet suit and the diving equipment associated therewith. In this manner, the inherent lifting characteristics will decrease, making the ascension movements harder. Such decrease may be compensated for by progressive inflation of the jacket. Conversely, as the diver ascends to the surface, his/her inherent buoyancy will increase and the jacket must, therefore, be gradually deflated in order to maintain overall buoyancy at a substantially neutral level.
Weight belts are traditionally used to assist the diver in neutralizing his or her buoyancy. These belts are usually provided with quick-release buckles that enable the diver, in the event of an emergency, to readily free himself or herself of the additional weight, thereby assisting his or her return to the surface. Recently, more and more, at least a part of the weight has been incorporated in buoyancy jackets. This is not only because weight belts have been found uncomfortable to wear, but also because they are frequently an obstacle to the diver's movements. Due to safety considerations, the diver must be able to free himself or herself of the weight quickly and easily.
A buoyancy compensator jacket suitable for incorporating weights is described in Italian Utility Model No. 244660 to the present applicant. In particular, weight elements are placed in pockets formed in side portions of the jacket. Each pocket is arranged in proximity to a back portion of the jacket and has a substantially tubular shape, with a top opening for introdu-cing the weight elements into the pocket and a bottom opening for allowing them to drop therefrom. Respective closure elements, in turn, are associated with the ope-nings. Closure of the bottom openings is accomplished using quick-release buckles.
Although this arrangement has been found effective, not only are the benefits of additional functions desired, but also enhancement of aesthetic appearance, without sacrificing efficacy or production costs.
In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a buoyancy compensator jacket is provided, which comprises a back portion and two side portions extending from respective opposite sides of the back portion, the side portions being suitable for wrapping the diver's trunk and for connection to one another on his or her chest. A main pocket and a weight pocket, each with a top opening, are formed in each of the side portions. The weight pocket is arranged on an outside surface of the main pocket and is configured for housing a weight-containing bag. The weight pocket is also provided with a closure element for its top opening thereof. The jacket also has a compartment formed in the main pocket for concealing the closure element of its top opening, and an engagement element on an outside surface of the weight pocket, complementary engagement elements being provided on the closure elements and on the weight-containing bag, whereby the engagement elements of the weight pocket are engageable with either complementary engagement elements of the closure elements, or with complementary engagement elements associated with the weight-containing bag so as to keep the weight-containing bag in position within the weight pocket.
A specific, illustrative buoyancy compensator jacket, in accordance with the present invention, is described below with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
The same numerals are used throughout the drawing figures to designate similar elements. Still other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments.
Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to
On the outer surface of each side portion 1, a patch 2 attached in gusset-fashion defines a main pocket 3, the inside of which is accessible from the top side through an opening closed desirably by a zip fastener 4 that can be seen in
As also shown in
Furthermore, a strip 14 extends from cover flap 12 in a longitudinal direction, the strip making it easier for the diver to grab the flap. In addition, a first element 15 a of snap fastener 15 is affixed to strip 14. Desirably, a complementary element 15 b of fastener 15 is attached to a patch 5 of weight pocket 6, below VelcroŽ element 13. In this manner, the weight pocket 6 adjacent to cover flap 12 may be closed in a more secure fashion by snap fastener 15.
Referring now to
Weight-containing bag 16 is also provided with a closure flap 19 that projects from a face situated along an edge of weight pocket 6 when the weight-containing bag is inserted. Cover flap 19 has a configuration similar to that of cover flap 12, the cover flap being provided with a VelcroŽ element on its inside face for engaging element 13 on patch 5. The cover flay also has a strip 21 with an element of a snap fastener 22 for engaging element 15 b.
Furthermore, as shown in
Because of cover flap 19, when weight bag 16 is inserted in housing 7 of pocket 6, it can be locked firmly in position—as shown in FIG. 5—due to the simultaneous action of VelcroŽ elements 20, 13 and the snap fastener elements 22, 15 b. A supplemental VelcroŽ connection between the rear of weight bag 16 and patch 2 can further enhance the firmness of positioning of the bag. The element of this connection attached to patch 2 can be seen in the section of
In the configuration that has just been described, cover flap 12 associated with patch 2 of main pocket 3 is concealed in compartment 9, which is closed by zip fastener 11. Due not only to the shape of housing 7 and, more particularly, its inner portion 7 b which deprives main pocket 3 of useful space, but also the deformability of this pocket, bag 16 will not protrude excessively from the front of side portion 1, thus reducing to a minimum the discomfort that it could cause for the diver's movements. Moreover, the small gripping knob 23 will remain in contact with cover flap 19 of weight bag 16 as a result of the VelcroŽ connection acting on tongue 24.
Another advantage of the present invention is that, in the event of an emergency, the diver is able to readily and easily ditch the weight-containing bag—and, therefore, also the weight it contains. To accomplish this, all the diver must do is firmly pull flap 19 upwardly and outwardly using gripping knob 23. As set forth in
When housing 7 is not used i.e., does not contain weight-containing bag 16, it can easily be used for holding objects. If cover flap 12 is removed and placed on an outside surface of patch 5 of pocket 6, with which it becomes engaged by VelcroŽ elements and snap fastener 15, the housing will be closed in a highly secure manner.
As this demonstrates, the weight pocket of the present invention offer extraordinary result, not only in the stability with which the jacket carries weights, but also the diver's ability to get rid of such weights, quickly and safely, in the chaos of an emergency. Both of these advantages are achieved by flap 19 of weight-containing bag 16, which acts both as a securement device and a pull-out strap.
Generally speaking, use of weight pocket 6 as an object-holder is both desirable and encouraged, given that cover flap 12, which avails itself of the elements (VelcroŽ and snap fastener) already provided for connection with weight bag 16, provides not only safety and assurance that objects stored will not be lost, but also a pleasant aesthetic appearance. In addition, it is noted that the weight pocket configuration, in accordance with the present invention, is very simple, so that the pocket may be produced at a relatively low cost. Last, a further benefit of the present invention is the composite form of housing 7, which incorporates weights in the buoyancy compensator jacket without creating an excessive bulge on the outside of the jacket.
The other features of buoyancy compensator jackets are known by those skilled in the art, and further description is considered unnecessary for purposes of illustrating the present invention. In addition, various modifications and alterations to the invention may be appreciated based on a review of this disclosure. These changes and additions are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the invention as defined by the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||405/186, 441/106|
|International Classification||B63C11/30, B63C11/02|
|Cooperative Classification||B63C11/30, B63C11/08|
|European Classification||B63C11/30, B63C11/08|
|May 7, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CRESSI-SUB S.P.A., ITALY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LEOPOLDO ANTONIO CRESSI;REEL/FRAME:014049/0413
Effective date: 20030403
|Apr 19, 2010||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Sep 12, 2010||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Nov 2, 2010||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20100912